The Switch4Good Podcast

Your Eating Habits Are All In Your Head With Dr. Stephan Guyenet

Jan 3, 2024

The worldwide prevalence of obesity has nearly tripled in less than fifty years. 

If we are more informed about potential health consequences than ever before, why are more and more adults choosing unhealthy eating habits that lead to weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease? 

Dr. Stephan Guyenet, who has spent more than a decade studying the neuroscience of body fatness, argues that most of us aren’t choosing our eating habits at all.

His book, The Hungry Brain, dives into the idea that eating behaviors aren’t a result of weakness or poor willpower, but of an evolutionary mismatch between our brain’s ancient programming and our current environment. 

Today he sits down with Dotsie and Alexandra to explain how our brains are hardwired to seek the high-calorie, dopamine-releasing foods that our ancestors relied on, and why that works against us in modern society. 

You’ll hear how your neurochemistry is influencing your eating habits, why you’re suddenly hungry for dessert after being satiated by dinner, and what you can do to overcome some of these neurological triggers that make it difficult to change the way you eat. 

If you’ve ever been frustrated by a craving or your habit of second helpings, don’t miss this episode to hear why, if you want to change your stomach, you need to focus on your head.

Listen to Episode 263 with Dr. Stephan Guyenet

What we discuss in this episode:

  • Dotsie’s experience at the Plant-Based World Conference & Expo

  • How convenience, cost, and the palatable seduction of food have contributed to higher rates of obesity

  • Why do we have a greater eating drive than we did only a century ago? Dr. Stephan Guyenet explains how our ability to concentrate dopamine-releasing ingredients is qualitatively similar to the creation of crack cocaine

  • The evolutionary mismatch: How our ancestors’ drive to survive is working against us today

  • What do genetics have to do with our body composition and our penchant for overeating

  • Why you should focus on diet before exercise if you’re hoping to lose weight

  • Understanding the two systems of our brain and why activities like exercise require overcoming the effort barrier of System 1 and thinking with System 2

  • The fat regulatory system, the starvation response, and why “calories in, calories out” is not as simple as counting numbers on a nutrition label
  • The two things that slow your metabolic rate and what you can do about them
  • Simple things you can try to overcome your body’s starvation response and limit your habit of overeating


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